Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Apr 29, 2008 07:14 AM

BBQ on Public Transit

I am visiting Chicago for the first time next week and am staying at the Sheraton Chicago hotel and towers. Despite the fancy digs, I am on a budget and want to spend my money on food not taxis. Being from Toronto, I want to try some good BBQ (which is very hard to find here). While I have been through the great threads on this baord re: BBQ and other Chicago delights, I was hoping someone could give me some advice on what BBQ place is the easiest to get to on public transit (train/bus) from my hotel. Looking for someplace that does real smoked ribs and pulled pork etc. (hecky's? Honey1?). Don't mind spending an hour in transit. Is this possible?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Go to Smoque! They are one of the best in town, excellent ribs & brisket

    To get there: take the Blue line el from Downtown to the Irving Park/Pulaski stop walk 1.5 blocks south on Pulaski and your there.

    1. Go to Carson's..! just kidding ;-)

      As always abf005 is on the money. Smoque is good. The brisket is worth the trip alone. I however prefer Honey 1 head to head. The Hot links, and ribs in my opinion @ Honey 1 top the brisket, and ribs at Smoque.

      1 Reply
      1. re: swsidejim

        swsidejim is a good authority on Q in this town too:

        Honey1 is also off the Blue line (hmm should we have a thread called Blue line BBQ??) bit more walking than to Smoque, but get off at Western and walk 4-6 blocks north (1/2 mile) or grab the Western bus, it's right before Fullerton.

        I'm not a big fan of this place, but they do serve genuine southern slow smoked ribs & links, they have a huge following and keep it simple and true to the BBQ tradition.

        Whatever you do, don't go looking for BBQ in the Downtown or the loop!! Only the lousy places like Carson's exist there, since they cant have real smokers on premises, they have to pre-cook the food elsewhere and then re-heat it at the restaurant.

        Honey 1 BBQ
        2241 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

        3800 N Pulaski Rd Ste 2, Chicago, IL 60641

      2. Thanks! However, I was routing around in the CTA site and Hecky's of Chcago seems much closer (1234 N. Halstead). No good?

        6 Replies
        1. re: bluedog

          You bet Hecky's is good! In fact I like them better than Honey1, but that's just my opinion.

          Now I've only ordered-in from the Halsted location back when I was working in the Loop and they were good, so they might even deliver to your Hotel. As to dining at Hecky's, I've only been to the original in Evanston.

          Since you had said you were willing to travel up to an hour I thew out the Smoque option, its about 40 mins out but well worth the trip.

          1. re: abf005

            Thanks! I have a lot to fit in so if I can get away with a shorter trip I will, but I really appreciate the advice.

            1. re: bluedog

              Hey bluedog welcome to Chicagoland. You've come to the right town for barbecue. Couple of preliminaries. First, though we are basically well meaning, in our enthusiasm we sometimes manage to forget or ignore the actual question being asked. (Some of the responses above are prime examples.) Sorry about that! Also, we tend to be absorbed in silly battles about politically correct barbecue, who is more authentic than who etc. So for your question about BBQ delights that are easy to get to quickly, I would immediately suggest Carson's. It's located at 612 N. Wells St. and should be easy to reach within 15 mins tops. Classic, old- school Chicago style barbecue at its finest through and through. Don't let the wannabe self proclaimed experts steer you wrong. Here there's no attempt at faux-Memphis, faux-Mississippi etc. They're better than that - and this is no pseudo run down shack. Highly recommended!

              1. re: j.walker

                only thing is Carsons does not smoke their meat at the restaurant(if at all), & they dont offer pulled pork. 2 things the OP wanted.

                I imagine the OP can get boiled or baked ribs aka "Meat Jello" in Toronto, and are looking for something closer to real bbq.

                Also missing @ Carsons are the other bbq staples: Hot links, and brisket. I drive over an hour each way to go to Smoque, or Honey 1, I wouldnt walk across the street for Carson's

                You cant go wrong with Hecky's, Smoque, or Honey 1. Smoque, and Honey 1 are BYOB as well.


                1. re: swsidejim

                  Not sure if your post is tongue in cheek. But I'll assume for discussion your post is serious. The fact is your options are extreme fringe choices, not characteristic, typical Chicago. This sort of exaggerated outlier approach is acceptable for local debates, but not for seriously advising a visitor who is looking for something typical and consistent. Seriously guys - I mean come on. (Sorry if I'm missing the joke!)

              2. re: bluedog

                I always appreciate different viewpoints, and am aware of the ongoing "discussions" on the merits of Carsons vs. smokehouse rib joints. And believe me we get into the same types of battles in TO (ironically called the Big Smoke in Canada despite it's distinct lack of smokehouse ribs!), generally over Mexican, Izakayas, "real" BBQ and a few other things we are seriously lacking in. We are fortunately abundant in many many other cuisines (e.g. just about every type of Asian you can imagine, aside from the Izakayas).

                So to be clear, and with apologies to J. Walker (though I do appreciate the input), I am specifically looking for good smoked southern style BBQ, like I can get at Dinosaur Ribs in Rochester NY (the closest truly decent place to TO, though Camp 31 in Paris Ontario is close).

                From this perspective I think Heckys, Honey1 and/or Smoque fit the bill. Are any of these places licensed?

            I second Smoque. I live a mile away & think their pulled pork sandwich is fab. When you get off the blue line(O'hare) at Irv. Pk, exit left. take the 1st stairway down & turn right. It's about 1-2 blocks on your right (NW corner) it's across the street from an auto repair shop. It's BYO. Also, not for BBQ, but good, is Paddy Mac's about 1/3 mile N. of Smoque. It's a bar that serves really good bar food.
            They have ribs, but I have no idea if they are any good. I will say, I think their fries are waay better than Smoque's.

            1. For an additional option in the other direction (and perhaps a little closer), try Honky Tonk at 1213 W 18th St. Take the pink line to 18th and walk east about 4-5 blocks to Racine. If you walk west on 18th, by the way, you'll run smack into a bunch of good Mexican restaurants, too.

              Here's more on Honky Tonk (which just added pulled pork to its menu):